19 Jan Old Lahaina Luau – Maui, Hawaii
Set in the heart of Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau takes pride in showcasing traditional Hawaiian culture. The tradition originated in the 1800’s, where King Kamehameha II removed religious laws that prevented men and women from eating together. When the ladies and lads finally came together, the first luaus were created. Isn’t that how all great parties start? The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the oldest and respected in Hawaii. Yes, it’s a super touristy concept. No doubt, you will encounter droves of tourists in Hawaiian shirts snapping photos. Nevertheless, the experience is highly enjoyable and remains a quintessential must. The Luau is the best in Maui, recognised for showcasing cultural integrity, romantic ambiance and riveting entertainment.
The evening kicks off with a cocktail on arrival and a lei – a garland of violet flowers presented to guests, as a symbol of welcome and affection. Tiki torches set alight the sprawling property, as pastel coloured hues paint the winter sky. The atmosphere is buzzing with live entertainment, as tourists participate in instrument demonstrations, buy wooden souvenirs and play games with the hunky staff. The star of the evening is the Kalua Pua’a, where pork is roasted in a beachside Imu – a Hawaiian underground oven. A deep pit is dug into the soil, where a whole pig roasts slowly, acquiring a deep smoky flavour. Preceding the luau, the pig is unveiled as the soil and palm leaves are removed to reveal perfectly moist pork, served later in the buffet.
Kalua Pua’a – Roasted in underground oven
Choose from traditional mats where guests are seated cross-legged on cushions, whilst dining on low communal tables (these are closest to the stage) or standard tables. Included in the experience, are bottomless cocktails (these words fill me with joy) and a buffet of traditional Hawaiian cuisine. The term ‘Luau’ is a term for a Hawaiian party or feast, and boy… will you feast. Thinking back to Vegas buffets, the experience is chaotic and nausea inducing. The Old Lahaina Luau is surprisingly civilised, where tables take turns to fill-up on Ahi poke, Lomi-Lomi salmon and melt-in-your mouth Kalua Pork. Admire the full spread of Laulau wrapped in Lu’au leaf, Mahi Mahi fish falling off the bone, traditional Taro Poi and fresh island crab salad (Full menu: here). Enjoy all of this glugging down tropical inspired cocktails. Our favourite is the Lava Flow, an icy blend of pureed banana, cream of coconut and pineapple juice, emerging from the red ‘lava’ of strawberries and coconut rum. Dessert is a platter of assorted island desserts: Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia. Go for seconds, thirds, whatever you can stomach.
Passion Fruit Cake, Upcountry Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Hawaiian Chocolate Chili Pepper Brownie, and Haupia.
Lava Flow Cocktail
Once you’ve formed an impressive food belly, it’s time to enjoy the entertainment. The Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance, accompanied by chant or song, preserving the stories, history and traditions of Hawaiian culture. Inspired by stories passed down from generation to generation, the tales evoke ancient Hawaiian mythology – tales of goddesses, gods and romance. The dancers are immensely talented, the women – graceful and beautiful in elaborate costumes, the movement most pronounced in the circling of hips and the gentle sway of slender arms. The men – strong and powerful, with six packs pulsating against the rhythm of the beat. The experience goes beyond a simple dinner and show, the dancers are captivating, the tales poignant and haunting , the experience authentically Hawaiian.The Old Lahaina Luau is more than a tourist trap. It’s a tribute to the traditions and culture of the Hawaiian people. You simply cannot visit Hawaii without experiencing at least one luau. Maholo, for an amazing evening!
The Hula Dance